As one of DC’s major crossovers during the Summer, “Amazons Attack!” had garnered poor reviews and had not sold well. During its run, many Wonder Woman fans wondered what the purpose of the story was, particularly as it had originally been intended to form part of the “Infinite Crisis” arc. Some even suggested that DC had almost felt obliged to somehow shoe-horn the story into the events of “Countdown” just to make use of Will Pfeifer’s story, which was gathering dust on the shelf. Others hated how the peace loving Amazons were being portrayed as baby killing murderers and that this was yet another example of DC’s misogyny and general contempt for the character of “Wonder Woman” and her Amazon heritage.
However, the negativity aimed at “Amazons Attack!” during its run was nothing compared to the outpouring of anger that fans unleashed once the final issue hit the shelves!
Wonder Woman fans are notorious for being very devout and highly protective over the way Diana is portrayed (myself included!). Already seething at DC after the debacle launch of the new book, they vented no end of fury on chat rooms and the like at the way the Amazons and their entire history and heritage are wiped from existence as their memories are taken away from them and they are left to walk the Earth as mere mortal women. On top of this came the revelation that Granny Goodness, a second rank villainess from Apokolips, had somehow defeated and Gods of Olympus, left Athena for dead and taken her place.
As some fans even want so far as to send letters to DC asking for Dan Dido’s head on a spike, Matt Idelson took the unusual move to respond on one of the online forums and to try and reassure Wonder Woman fans that the story was but one chapter in an over arching story line – and that DC had no intention of leaving the Amazon story “unfinished”.
Cooler heads realised that as part of the “Countdown” storyline and the forthcoming “Final Crisis” event to which it was leading up to, there were plenty of opportunities for both Hippolyta and her Amazon sisters to redeem themselves and regain their peace loving heritage again.
However, many fans had already run out of patience. They saw Gail Simone’s upcoming tenure on the “Wonder Woman” title as DC’s last chance to win the fan’s trust and demonstrate that they genuinely knew how to handle and treat this iconic female comic book character with the respect she deserved…
Inside the ruins of the Capitol Building as battle rages all around, Hippolyta cries out demanding to know where her daughter is. Not far away Diana lands on the tower behind where Circe stands watching the carnage below. The Amazon Princess tells the witch that she was bound to find out that Circe’s death had been a ruse all along and that she had in fact been behind the whole war from the start. As Diana wields her sword and advances on Circe the witch replies that she will not fight Wonder Woman because Batman had somehow managed to negate her magic. However, she knows Diana and knows she will not kill her in cold blood.
Wonder Woman uses the hilt of the sword to clout Circe to the floor and stands over her. As she points the sword at Circe’s heart she says that without her magic the witch will fall the more easily. But before she can thrust she hears her mother say “No”. Diana turns to see Hippolyta standing there who says that she has been looking for her daughter. With that she hits the Amazon Princess sending her flying through the air and down onto the ground below. As she crashes down the sword is dislodged from her grip and she reaches for it. As Hippolyta lands on her she grabs it just in time to block her mother’s sword!
With swords locked the two struggle to gain the upper hand and finally Wonder Woman manages to throw Hippolyta off her. She swiftly follows this with a powerful punch that sends the Queen smashing through the wall of the Smithsonian Institute. As Diana stands peering at the hole in the wall and waiting for her mother to respond, one of the planes from the exhibit suddenly flies out and crashes into the unsuspecting Amazon. A furious Hippolyta steps back outside and peels away the wreckage to reveal a dazed Diana. She holds the sword at Wonder Woman’s throat and Diana calmly stares up at her, instructing her mother to strike.
“Give in to your bloodlust. Show me that Circe’s magic is stronger than your will…your sense of right and wrong…the ideals of our people who none but you have better lived up to. Show me that despite our differences, despite all the ways you think I’ve let you down…that you don’t still consider me your daughter. If this war really is your will and desire then go ahead – finish the job – kill me!”.
Hippolyta stares down at her daughter and her eyes widen as Diana’s words strike a chord. The fighting around them has come to a halt as all parties watch events unfold between mother and daughter. Superman starts to make a move to save Diana but Batman grabs his arm and says “Wait”. Finally, after what seems like an eternity Hippolyta let’s her sword drop to the floor.
Circe suddenly appears in the air above them, crying out that it changes nothing and that it was never about Wonder Woman. Every dead body..every drop of blood spilled…was all done in the name of vengeance against the Gods! She goes on to explain that when she had come to Earth to claim Diana’s powers, she had believed her beloved Ares was by her side but he used the opportunity to snatch their daughter and claim her as his own! And the other Gods allowed him to do so! It had been easy to pretend repentance and to offer a piece of her own soul to Hippolyta in order to resurrect the Amazon Queen. Little did the Gods know that as a result Hippolyta would be tainted – that she would be more like Circe!
Meanwhile, as the witch speaks, Batman tries to sneak up behind her but she blasts him to the ground with her magic, which has now returned!
She continues to tell Wonder Woman and Hippolyta that the Gods had sanctioned the theft of her daughter, Lyta, and so she has vowed to take the Gods’ children from them. The Amazons will die for the folly of their Deities and then Circe will reclaim her child. If they thought that the conflict was over they were both mistaken!
With that Circe blasts Wonder Woman and grabs Hippolyta around the throat. She tells the struggling Amazon Queen that first she intends to reclaim the life that she had given Hippolyta. But before she can act there is a boom and flash and the three women find themselves staring up at Athena. Hippolyta kneels down begging for forgiveness while a smug Circe smiles up and gloats that forgiveness is all Athena can do now isn’t it? “Look around you ‘bringer of wisdom’. A city in ruins. Dead bodies as far as the eye can see. Two peoples ravaged. And who is responsible for this? A Goddess? A just and mighty Deity? No. I did this while you did nothing. You are every bit as responsible as I!”.
With that Athena reacts by opening a flame filled hole in the earth beneath where Circe stands and sends the screaming witch down into the pits of Hades! An angry Wonder Woman then demands to know why Athena had not intervened to stop the carnage. The Goddess replies that although the Gods knew what Circe planned, they had also decided that the time had come for the Amazons to face a test – one which they utterly failed. She continues to address the onlookers below, saying that the Amazons had not followed their own warrior code and had given in to hate, fear and cruelty. Some had even sought to betray the Queen herself yet could never quite take a stand when one was required. As children of the Gods the Amazons are expected to be held to a higher standard than ordinary humans. Instead they had sank to unimaginable depths. Circe may have sparked the fire but the Amazons had kept the blaze going. The responsibility for this carnage therefore lies with them….and thus they must be punished!
With that Themyscira rises from the sea off the coast as it returns from the other dimension. Then with a flash all of the Amazons, including Hippolyta, disappear into thin air. Athena tells a stunned Wonder Woman that every conflict has its casualties and this one has claimed the Amazons. Though unknown to Diana, the Amazons have had their memories wiped and now walk the earth as mere mortals.
The Goddess then addresses the others, telling them that although the Amazons had been stronger and wiser than the mortals of Man’s World, they still possessed fear and hatred which Circe had manipulated to into a war. If the Amazons could be laid low by such base flaws then what hope for Man’s World? Some had rashly endangering the lives of innocents…some had attacked the rights of others while some had become so caught up in battle strategy that they only cared how to fight – instead of how not to. “The war is over. Make the most of the peace before the next inevitable conflict begins.”
With that Athena disappears leaving Wonder Woman, her Justice League colleagues and hundreds of U.S. troops standing there silently, contemplating her words and what has just occurred. Finally, Diana tells Superman that the Goddess is right – the war is over and they have a lot of cleaning up to do…
Meanwhile in Olympus, Athena surveys the Earth below, musing how the world has changed now that the Amazons are no longer a part of it. She looks down upon Hippolyta, who now sits solemnly on her throne on Themyscira – a ruler with no subjects. Behind Athena, the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus are shackled to a wall while the real Athena lies motionless on the floor. And as the Olympians curse the doppelganger Athena, she cackles in triumph and transforms into her real identity, revealing herself to be none other than Granny Goodness!